The remarkable new butterfly editions from Damien Hirst have arrived, and with no exaggeration they are truly breathtaking.
When Hirst’s latest exhibition opened and presented to the public the celestial array of colour and sparkle on offer with these beautiful prints, it has come as no real surprise to learn that these are selling like crazy.
What will strike you though is when these prints are viewed up-close, and away from the curated exhibition space where they were first presented, just how superbly crafted and elegant the work is on its own.
The editions are produced using a very intensive print technique called ‘foilblock’. Each butterfly is carefully created in three stages: the bottom, base colour print, which is then accentuated by two more sparkling layers highlighting details on the patterned wings or body. Every single print has taken the master printer 3-4 hours to produce; there is no room for error and only when everything is 100% perfect are they ready.
The finished effect of each print, vibrant with hue, is that of a resonant tension between the stillness of death and the trembling, iridescent life that the individual butterflies convey.
Hirst’s fascination with butterflies derives in large part from the way in which these beautiful insects embody both the beauty and the impermanence of life, becoming symbols of faith and mortality.
Of ‘The Souls’ Hirst said: “I love butterflies because when they are dead they look alive. The foilblock makes the butterflies have a feel similar to the actual butterflies in the way that they reflect the light. They represent the soul.”